486 reasons to vote, visualized by American graphic designers


For many Americans, elections are spectator sports. Despite the huge numbers who tuned in to this week’s presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, historical data suggests that on Nov. 8, more than 40% of eligible voters will skip the polling stations and just watch the dramatic results unfold on TV.

To address America’s consistently dismal voter turn out, the graphic arts organization AIGA launched a poster campaign intended to wield “the power of design to motivate the American public to register and turn out to vote.” It asked its 26,000 professional and student members to create nonpartisan posters persuading readers to vote, that would be free for anyone to print and distribute.

(Milton Glaser/AIGA)

While the efficacy of the printed poster format is questionable in the age of memes, many of the resulting posters in the growing gallery (486 by the time of publication) show how compelling and memorable a well-visualized argument can be.

Voter apathy is a real concern. Many people don't feel that their vote matters and take this right for granted. Thomas Dorr, Susan B Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr fought so that all Americans (non-land owning men, women and minorities) could participate in democracy. Don't waste your right!
(Jeanne Komp/AIGA Philadelphia)
A quote from Abe Lincoln about the importance and power of voting.
Stronger Than the Bullet (Sarah Lownes/AIGA Central Pennsylvania)
These justly famous words, attributed to Edmund Burke (1729-1797), capture the ethical obligation we have to participate in the democratic process and keep evil and tyranny at bay. Voting = Freedom.
Voting = Freedom (Joel Katz/AIGA Philadelphia)
Go Vote It's a Piece of Cake.
Go Vote It’s a Piece of Cake. (Tiffany St. Julien/AIGA Richmond)
Vote (Dana Arnett/AIGA Chicago)

AIGA explains that the free posters can be useful for voter registration campaigns who can bolster their messaging through witty, edgy, campy, passionate, or graphically arresting communication materials. Several posters also speak to US minority groups who might feel especially left out in the US elections, like this image targeted for Chinese-Americans.

With every passing year, America’s population is getting increasingly diverse and multi-cultural. The lag between the background and experience of our society’s population and the background and experience of our society’s leaders is significant. We won’t be unified in our diversity until the perspectives of our leadership more truthfully reflect the outlook of the citizens they represent. Designed in Chinese using Kanji ideograms, this poster is intended to help close that gap. The design is targeted at voters who read Chinese, but also to teach non-readers the characters for “vote.” It was designed by three immigrant and first generation Chinese-Americans employed at Jackson Fish Market. The studio is housed in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service headquarters where throughout the twentieth century, Chinese-Americans entered the United States, Chinese-Americans were naturalized as American citizens, and some Chinese-Americans were held as detainees under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
(Jenny Lam/AIGA Seattle)

Based on a poster by LA-based designer Agustin Garza, AIGA also partnered with Spanish-language network Azteca to produce a 10-second PSA about voting, featuring Battlestar Galactica actor Edward James Olmos.

“The policies under discussion during this election make it imperative that this year [Latinos] take a more active role in the democratic process that will shape the future of their community and of the country at large,” explained Garza. More than half of eligible US Latinos abstained from voting in past US election cycles, according to a 2016 analysis by Pew.

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